Doha: Lionel Messi reacted to Argentina’s shocking loss to Saudi Arabia was a ‘very heavy blow’ but vowed the South American champions would bounce back from the defeat.
‘It’s a very heavy blow, a defeat that hurts, but we must continue to have confidence in ourselves’, Messi said after Argentina crashed to a stunning 2-1 loss in Group C. ‘This group is not going to give up. We will try to beat Mexico’, he added.
Argentina got off to a great start as Lionel Messi converted a penalty in the 10th minute to give his side a 1-0 lead. Playing in his fifth World Cup Messi beat Saudi Arabia’s goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais to find the net. The Argentines also had three goals ruled out for offside as they went into half-time with a 1-0 lead.
The second half was a different story altogether as 51st-ranked team Saudi Arabia came with a new vigour with Saleh Al-Shehri scoring a goal for them to level the score 1-1. Al-Shehri squeezed in a low shot into the nets. Five minutes later the Saudis took the lead as Salem Al-Dawsari tapped in a goal in the 53rd minute to give them a crucial 2-1 lead.
Despite a lot of possession after conceding the goal, the two-time champions were unable to level the score. Saudi’s goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais made many important saves and their defence also stood tall in the match’s dying moments. Abdulelah Al Amri was awarded the ‘Player of the Match’ award for his brilliant performance.